WAySTEaD is a brand with a mission to transform waste from all over the world into treasures from fashion design. Using unique fabrics such as hot air balloons, seatbelts and airbags to create garments.
Can you tell us what led you to start upcycling?
It is a bit long story. I’ve started my career as a fashion stylist and have been working for almost 10 years in Tokyo. And then I’ve switched occupations to be a photographer when I lived in Dubai in 2016. I came back to Japan in 2018 and launched my own web media called TELLERS which is representing social issue topics with creative visuals and short novels.
Since it was really hard to monetize immediately, I decided to run some related business as a part of the media. And my background was fashion and the media was something related to social problems so running an up-cycle fashion label would be the first option at the point.
Tell us a bit about WAySTEaD?
It is an up-cycling fashion label made of hot air balloons, seatbelts and airbags. We are up-cycling these materials not just because its good for the environment but also to create a unique design by incorporating the character of them. We are trying to produce these items to let people purchase them because of the design and idea, otherwise, it is gonna be just a small game within people who already have been aware.
Where do you find inspiration?
As I mentioned above, I’m pretty much inspired by the material itself.
They all have a very unique character that doesn’t exist in ordinary materials. And also I’m inspired by 80s 90s mass production and consumption society’s aesthetic. Running an up-cycling label is almost like denying that era but I think the aesthetic of them must be preserved.
Tell us about your iconic Seatbelt Racing Jackets…
It is made of seatbelts that have been used for safety exams. The ones that were supposed to be disposed of without being installed for actual cars so it’s almost like dead stock. Although most of the materials installed in cars are recyclable these seatbelts and airbags are not.
We are putting print written as “DRIVE SAFE” on it and put them together one by one to make them fabric-like. Then cut them in patterns and put them together with the sleeve part which is also made of recycled poly. The design is inspired by a retro burger chain uniform and we transformed it into oversized racing jackets.
What’s next for WAySTEaD?
We are taking pre-orders on our web store soon and shipping them globally. And we are also looking for retailers to distribute them all over the world.
What 3 tips can you give to someone wanting to upcycle?
Finding beauty in materials that are supposed to be disposed of.
Figuring out the easiest way to transform them out as it is too tough to produce complicated products like the one we produce.
Utilising the character that the material has.